Are you living in a toxic home? Can you identify harmful ingredients in personal care and household products? A few are listed here. If you find any of them, or any other harmful ingredients in items like toiletries, cosmetics, skincare, haircare and cleaning products which you or your family members use, please throw those items away immediately. Safe personal care and household products are available, so be a smart consumer and protect your family!
Here are some toxic chemicals and harmful ingredients to watch out for:
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
This is a sneaky one as it has 144 known alternative names.
• This is an industrial degreaser and garage floor cleaner.
• Used in personal care and household products because it is cheap.
• SLS has a low molecular weight, so it is easily absorbed into the body where it builds up in the eyes, brain, heart and liver.
• Caustic cleanser. Harms hair and skin follicles.
• Routinely used in clinical studies to irritate the skin, so that the effects of other substances can be tested (Source : Wall Street Journal, Nov.1, 1988).
• Can keep children’s eyes from developing properly.
• Can cause cataracts in adults.
• Can retard healing.
Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
SLES is the alcohol form (ethoxylated) of SLS. Both SLS and SLES may cause potentially carcinogenic formations of nitrates and dioxins to form in shampoos and cleansers by reacting with other product ingredients.
1,4-Dioxane (or Dioxin)
• One of the principal components of Agent Orange used during the Vietnam War. Implicated in the host of cancers that surfaced after the war.
• 1,4-dioxane may be created during ethoxylation i.e. the process that makes degreasing agents like SLS less abrasive and more foamy.
• 1,4-dioxane is an estrogen mimic (estrogen can trigger cancer).
Ingredients most likely contaminated with 1,4-Dioxane :
PEG, Polyethylene, Polyethylene Glycol, eth (as in sodium laureth sulfate), Polyoxyethylene, or oxynol. Also Polysorbate 60 and Polysorbate 80.
Another sneaky one as it has 41 alternative names. Propylene glycol is a cosmetic form of mineral oil found in brake and hydraulic fluids, paint, varnishes, and anti-freeze. In skin and hair care products, propylene glycol works as a humectant, which is a substance that retains the moisture content of skin or cosmetic products by preventing the escape of moisture or water. Drums of Propylene Glycol are accompanied by a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) which reads “If on skin, thoroughly wash with soap and water”. Can cause liver abnormalities and kidney damage.
Diethanolamine (DEA), Cocamide DEA, Lauramide DEA, Triethanolamine (TEA), Monethanolamine (MEA)
A colourless liquid or crystalline alcohol that is used as a solvent, emulsifier, and wetting agent. DEA works as an emollient in skin softening lotions or as a humectant on other personal care products. When found in products containing nitrates, it reacts chemically with the nitrates to from potentially carcinogenic nitrosamines. Although earlier studies seemed to indicate that DEA itself was not a carcinogen, more recent studies show its carcinogenic potential, even in formulations that exclude nitrates.
Fluorides (Sodium Fluoride & Hexaflurosillicic Acid)
• Fluoride is a toxic waste product of many industries eg.glass production, phosphate fertliser production, aluminium smelting etc.
• Sodium Fluoride is used in rat poison
• Fluorine : used as a battlefield gas in both world wars.
• Fluoride accumulates in the body like lead.
• It is more toxic than lead and just slightly less toxic than arsenic (Source : Clinical Toxicology 1984)
• Hip fractures are 20%-40% higher on fluoridated communities (reported in a news release titled “Study Links Fluoride to Rare Bone Cancer” issued on December 8, 1993, by the American Medical Association)
• Used as a solvent and found in medicines and beverages.
• Mouthwash with an alcohol content of 25% or more has been implicated in mouth, tongue and throat cancers (1991 study by the National Cancer Institute),
• Can also lead to accidental poisoning.
Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA)
An organic acid produced by anaerobic respiration. Skin care products containing AHA exfoliate not only dead skin cells, but the skin’s protective barrier as well. Long-term skin damage may result.
Used in aircraft components, antiperspirants, antacids and antiseptics. Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease.
A porous clay that expands to many times its dry volume as it absorbs water. Used by fire fighters to suffocate forest fires by eliminating available oxygen. Found in cosmetic foundations. Healthy cells need oxygen and this blocks it out.
Collagen and Elastin
Derived from animal carcasses and ground-up chicken feet. Found in most skincare products. Forms a layer of film that may suffocate the skin.
A fine white clay used in making porcelain. Like bentonite, kaolin smothers and weakens the skin.
A colourless, nonflammable gas or liquid that can produce mild upper respiratory tract irritation. Commonly used as a propellant in hairsprays.
When combined with water, it is used as a disinfectant, fixative or preservative. Irritant and a carcinogen. Found in many cosmetic products and conventional nail care systems.
A fatty substance extracted from wool. Used in lotions and cosmetics. Can cause allergic reactions due to toxic pesticides in the wool. Some 16 pesticides were identified in lanolin sampled in 1988.
Used in baby oils. And you thought baby products should be the safest ever! Derived from crude oil (petroleum). Mineral oil forms an oily film over skin to lock in moisture, toxins and wastes. Hinders normal skin respiration by keeping oxygen out.
Petroleum-based grease similar to mineral oil, with the same potentially harmful properties.
Drying, corrosive, irritating. Used to thicken personal care product preparations because it is cheap.
One of the leading causes of ovarian cancer.
Protect your family. Clean out your toxic home now!